elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Ok, so I'm a little late to the party, but who cares!

I should mention I've only read this book recently. Everybody here was talking so much about it and I love a good novel with magic, so I got a cheap used copy last January and read it. I have to admit I had to persevere a bit to get into the story. The footnotes drove me crazy, and the text felt very small for my tired eyes at night. But after I few chapters I fell in deep, and loved it.

My vision for this costume is very earthy, like mold and moss and slightly rotted dead things in the dark undergrowth of the forest. That's how I pictured the fairies in the book. The Gentleman is also described as wearing green.

Anyone remember this annoyingly bright dress? Well I decided I could sacrifice it to the cause. I did really enjoy the brightness, but I'd already worn it twice for two different events, and I really doubted I'd wear it again. So I dyed it to make it more earthy and mossy. One pot of Procion bronze later, I had this:

dyed dress (1)

To make the wings, I bought a big sheet of fancy mulberry paper from the art supply store and did some paint. First a mottled layer of brown watercolor, then a sponged layer of metallic bronze.

After this I coated the back in Mod Podge to stiffen, which was a total fail. It's actually softer now, instead of stiffened! It's heavy and soft and floppy and thick. Probably you real artist types are saying "duh," but usually when I Mod Podge things they get stiff, almost crispy stiff, like they stand up on their own.

I am really not much of an artist, so please know this is really the best I could do. It's not quite what I envisioned, but oh well. I will go with it anyway. I have a wing template, sort of a dragonfly's wing shape, that I will use to cut out wings from my painted paper. I plan for them to hang down, like they are folded, not stick out to the sides.


The twirly sticks are for my hair, which I plan to braid up and then cover with moss and twigs.

Finally the overbodice. This is still in progress, and it's a little ambitious for me, so we'll see how it goes. The plan is to glue a layer of moss to a tulle foundation to make a bodice made of moss. Here's the sample I made.

moss (2)

It worked pretty well, though I had to absolutely saturate it with glue (Fabric Fusion). I put freezer paper below and on top and weighted it with a book until it dried.

I have a bag each of brown and green and another bag that's more peat-y. I'll try mixing them a bit. I hope this ends up looking like what I am imagining.

moss (1)
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Finally, finally, finally I have in my hot little hands my copy of Laura Ingalls Wilder's annotated autobiography Pioneer Girl. YAY!

My hubs pre-ordered it for me way back in February and it has taken this long for it to be in stock and ship to me. This book is crazy popular and I feel like I am the only person who is NOT surprised by that at all.

I am trying to be good and read it slowly, in order, when I know I could easily lock myself in the house and just devour it straight through, skipping around for my favorite parts. I am only 20 pages in so far, but I am really enjoying it. Expect posts with all my reactions soon.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I'm teaching a project class at Treadle on the Colette Moneta, a sweet little knit dress with a bunch of options. For the display, I made this (view 2):

moneta 001

I LOVE this fabric. It's a cotton/spandex jersey from Art Gallery Fabrics and it's covered with little butterflies and triangles.

moneta 004

moneta 003

This afternoon the dress will go to Treadle to display. I plan to take some nicer photos of it to promote the class!

The Moneta is a pretty nice pattern. As always with their patterns, the fit is great. There is negative ease (because it's a knit) and the proportions are nice. When I am sewing with Colette, I never need to worry about sizing down to avoid swimming in my clothes. The measurement chart is always right.

A couple little details I will change when I make it again: 1.) it's a little long in the waist. I know that's just how people are wearing things these days, but I like my waistline at my waist. 2.) The back neckline is inexplicably 1" lower than the front neckline. You can see from the photos on the pattern page that this is an intentional design detail, but I don't like it. 3.) Ditch the pockets.

I did not use my serger for this (gasp!). For the class, I don't want to make a serger a requirement, so I wanted my display to reflect conventional zigzag machine sewing. She suggests using a twin needle for hems, but I hate doing that, so they are just zigzagged also.

I turned to my trusty Sew U: Home Stretch any time I needed a reference or second opinion. Colette has their own knits book now but I haven't got around to buying it, and anyway, Sew U is pretty good, if a little dated.

moneta 007

If you (or anyone you know) are in the Twin Cities area, please check out our classes page. The Moneta class starts Oct. 3rd.


Sep. 5th, 2014 12:00 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I needed to get out of the house yesterday afternoon, so The Girl and I went to my favorite nearby antique store, Mall of St. Paul. I found a couple cooking booklets for about $3 each.


1941 and 1939, respectively.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I got my hairdo book today! Yay!


It has been so hard the past few days seeing all you west - coasters get your copies, and imagining them slowly trickling across the nation in the mail.

Today when I got the mail I just sat down on the porch and read for half an hour without moving. So far I am really liking it. Of course I knew it would be awesome, but I did fear that there wouldn't be enough info on styling your own natural hair. I know a lot of you love wigs, and I think they are great, too! But if you have met me you probably know that I have a lot of hair, and I also have a certain vanity about it. I want to let it show! Not to mention the trouble of stowing it all somewhere if I did do a full wig.

So I was glad to see so many of the styles using so much of your own hair. I really ought to try some earlier, simple ones, but I am dying to try something huge! I think I could do Miss Nettlethorpe with just my own hair and a couple false buckles. But I don't mind adding wefts or pieces as long as I can still show off my own hair!

My one regret is that I did not donate to the cause beyond the price of the book. I wish I had! Now all my friends' names are in there and mine is not. That's what I get for being a cheapskate.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)

The Raleigh Tavern book is really more of a pamphlet, only 30 pages. It has original recipes along with modern interpretations.

National Cookery is available for free on Google books, but I got a used copy for 5 bucks on Amazon. For that cheap I'd much rather read the paper copy. It's so much easier. This is the book I took my ice cream recipe from last week.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
This morning I read [livejournal.com profile] m_of_disguise's post about sewing men's costumes, and it made me realize I've been doing a lot of sewing for my guy recently. There are a ton of helpful resources I've used over the years, so I thought it would be fun to share a list!


I love books. I love sewing books even more. I am constantly running to my bookshelf mid-project to look up a technique, compare a pattern shape, or get accessory ideas. These are my absolute faves for menswear.

Classic Tailoring Techniques by Roberto Cabrera. This is my #1 reference. This is where they tell you how to do everything the "good" way. How often do I do all of it? Eh, not very often. But it's still my go-to book for a jumping-off point. It's currently out of print, but I got it for about $30 on Amazon; if you keep an eye on it for a few months sometimes the price drops.



More Books! )

Patterns )

That's all I've got for now! I'm sure there are many things I've missed, so please share your favorite menswear resources with me!


May. 12th, 2014 03:24 pm
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
Mrs. Beeton's and American Cookery arrived today! Little House cookbook I already had.


Little House isn't entirely authentic, but there are plenty of good ideas and it's a nice starting point.
elizabeth_mn: (seaside)
I got this book in the mail the other day and I cannot keep my hands off it.

I bought it on a sort-of whim.  I've been wanting a resource to help date textile prints, or rather to compare modern equivalents to historic periods.  It is so freakin' amazing.  Every piece is beautiful and I keep wandering into the sewing room to flip through a little more.

They way it's organized is not the way I might have chosen, but it makes sense, given the amount of material.  There are broad categories such as Floral or Geometric, then each page (or sometimes a 2-3 page layout) has an array of swatches representing a different subcategory, like Floral: sprigs, or Floral: cinnamon pinks.

Then each swatch is dated, and method of printing, fiber, country of origin, and intended use (apparel vs. home furnishing) are given.  There are a few 18th c examples, but the bulk of the book deals with 19th and early 20th c.

One thing that is surprising is the bold, wacky brightness of so many early prints.  The Turkey red prints with big yellow patterns from the 1810s and 1820s, for example.  I start to wonder how exactly they were used.  The amount of printed wool challis is a new idea to me, too.  I knew they existed, but I suppose they were more common than I realized.  In fashion plates, printed fabrics are not often shown, but obviously they were made and sold in huge quantities.  I am so eager to do more research on the specific uses of printed textiles.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Finally got the hooks and eyes on so I can call them done!

I used the same basic pattern for all but the last: two pieces, darted, with a slight flare. I tweak it every time I use it, and this is the latest iteration.

A green one in the same linen/rayon that I made a plain skirt of a couple months ago, but with a contrast band in a cotton print.

More! More! )

Those done and out of the way, it's onward to the quilt!  I am only a little nervous about this.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Everyone at Treadle (including me) is going nuts lately over a new book, Fa La La La Felt.

I promise, the stuff inside is so much cuter than the cover.  

I am really not very into Christmas, but I like to exchange a couple gifts and have a few decorations.  We used to decorate our aloe plant in lieu of a tree, but in recent years it has become overgrown and floppy, so last year we bought a tree and will probably continue to do so.  Point being, a tree needs stuff hanging off it!  

I made the Golden Partridge and the Beaded Tassel Drop. I was really ambitious at first about making tons of ornaments, but I think after these two I need to quit for a while because I have so much else to do. Please don't judge the patterns in the book by my low-quality photo.

The projects are not religious and aren't too boringly Traditional Christmas, either, two pluses for me.  The only annoying thing is that the patterns need to be enlarged.  Full-size would have been much easier, but oh well.

One of my coworkers at Treadle has made a ton of these and is selling them at the shop.  If you're local, drop by and have a look!

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
For [livejournal.com profile] jenthompson[livejournal.com profile] bauhausfrau, and all my other mom-of-boys friends,

Have you seen this book?

I just read a review of it at Made By Rae, and I agree with what she says; it really fills a hole in the current craft book market.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
Thanks for the nice comments on my scarf!  I hit the halfway point this afternoon: 18 repeats.  I rewarded myself with a new book purchase. Or two.

Plus, I checked my Ravelry page for this project, and I've only been at it for two weeks!  I guess it seems like so much longer because I had to wait forever for the needles to arrive, and all that time all I could think about was knitting it.

It's a fun knit, but since I've gotten to the point where I've pretty much memorized the chart, I'm not sorry it's halfway over.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)
I went on a bit of a book-buying binge last week, and I'm going to take a few days to review some of them.  Today is Knits Men Want by Bruce Weinstein.

Knits Men Want: The 10 Rules Every Woman Should Know Before Knitting for a Man~ Plus the Only 10 Patterns She'll Ever Need

It's organized into chapters based on the author's Rules of Knitting for Men.  They are way over-generalized, and the tone is sometimes a little sexist (I am so tired of the word hardwired when discussing gender differences) but still, a lot of the things he says are basically true for (probably) a majority of men. 

His Rules boil down to: Men want practical, comfortable, simple garments that don't look weird or stand out in a crowd.  Already I can think of about 10 exceptions to that in the form of men I've known and clothes they've owned and loved, but I think it's a good general principle.

I think Simple, Practical, Comfortable are good guidelines when knitting for any gender if the garment is a gift, especially a surprise one.  Most people who like wacky, odd things like picking them out themselves; even odd tastes tend to be specific.  A plainer, simpler style has a greater probability of success when made for another person.

The value of this book is in the patterns, not the commentary.  Each one is presented in a table format, given in multiple gauges (and sizes, of course).  There are only 10 patterns: several sweaters, a scarf, a vest, a hat, socks, and mitts.  My favorite is the Henley.  My HB likes the zip cardigan and the watch cap.  The patterns are clear and versatile.  The gauges (and therefore the yarns) are variable, but yarns the sample garments are made in are listed.

The photos are nice, too. I like that most of the photos feature men with beards!

The real reason I bought this book?  My husband liked it.  He knits, too, and every time we are in the bookstore and I see a new men's knits book, I eagerly show it to him.  His responses are pretty ho-hum, usually.  But he was excited about this one.  I almost couldn't understand why; the patterns are so simple as to almost verge on boring.  But I guess that is what my man wants!

Every one?

Mar. 19th, 2010 07:53 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I picked up a couple bargains at Half Price Books the other day.  Among them was a 1971 crewel and embroidery manual which included the following claim on the back cover:

It amuses me.  Clearly, this is not only the greatest, but the only embroidery book ever produced, ever.

It almost makes me want to try to find the one stitch they didn't include.  But it is very comprehensive!

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

Now that I've posted about a couple presents I made, I'll post about a present I recieved.

By far my favorite thing was David Page Coffin's new book, Making Trousers. I've been a fan of his book Shirtmaking for a long time, and Coffin is simply one of my sewing heroes.

The trouser book has the same clear, well-defined approach to fine sewing techniques that Shirtmaking has, plus a dvd with videos on how to do some of the steps. I haven't checked out the dvd yet, but the book itself has already given me a bunch of new ideas.  I've only recently started wearing pants again (as opposed to skirts) and I've only recently started thinking about getting seriously into making pants for my HB (probably one reason he gave me this book!).

Pants are hard to sew (for me anyway).  Not as hard as jackets, but harder than shirts, and definitely harder than skirts. Having some good books around makes it so much easier; this is one that does.

You can get an idea of some of the content of the book from the blog DPC on Making Trousers.

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I am so, so excited about this new quilting book, Material Obsession. I read about it on angry chicken a few months ago, and it looked like the lovliest book in the world. A few weeks ago, I decided to buy it for myself for a recovering-from-giving-birth present.

I thought it was going to be more of a photography book, just pretty pictures of lots of quilts, but it has 20-some projects with templates and instructions. And it has lots of pretty pictures! The photo quality is really good. I like how the quilts are photographed in lots of settings, crumpled up, so you can see how they'd actually look in use. Each has a clear, flat photo of the whole quilt, too.

The whole book is so refreshing. The patterns are mostly based in traditional quilting, but they are beautifully modern (hence the book's subtitle: Modern Quilts With Traditional Roots). They range from super easy (giant square blocks with sashing) to complicated (applique, 3-way seams) with lots between.  The instructions are really good and I like how they tell a little story about each quilt's inspiration.

The best part for me is that this book has inspired me to try hand quilting, something I never would have thought possible. Their quilting designs are not as dense as a lot of traditional quilts, and they use perle cotton to hand-quilt some of the projects, which makes it so much less threatening. Most of their projects are hand-quilted.

This is definitely my new favorite quilting book!  I really want to start a new quilt now. 

elizabeth_mn: (Default)

It's really becoming All Knitting, All The Time over here.  I have mixed feelings about this.

Anyway, my new book, Custom Knits, arrived in the mail yesterday, and I like it just as much as I did in the bookstore.  The photos have a bit too much of a bedroom eyes/"check out my panties!" aesthetic, but if you can ignore that, the patterns are really great.  Mostly sweaters, but a couple scarves and wraps.

The styles are simple, classic, feminine, and fitted (the designer definitely knows women have a waist that goes in in the middle!).  Some have a bit of a vintage feel.  Most are in worsted-weight yarns, and there are a few finer/DK and a few bulky designs.  All the patterns have minimal or no seaming.  Most are in stockinette stitch with textured details, but there are a few with all-over textured patterns.  Not much colorwork (which I don't mind, it's not my cup of tea).

The best part, though, is that every pattern has a "Make It Your Own" section that describes several easy alterations, some of which change the whole look of the garment.  The last chapter is all about more alterations, both for fit and style, plus an entire section on making up a pattern from scratch.

Throughout the book is an encouragement to meddle, to get the most from your effort by customizing the fit and style to make a garment you will really wear.


Jan. 6th, 2009 08:38 am
elizabeth_mn: (Default)

I've finished a little over half of my right sweater front, which is exciting. I've made 7 buttonholes (of 10) and I am about midway through the bust increases.

I've been putting a lot more of my thought and energy into this sweater in the past couple weeks and I think it is paying off. Hopefully I will have a completed sweater by sometime in February, which would give me 3 more months of weather cool enough to wear it in, yay!

I think the thing that slowed me down the most with this project was altering the pattern. I've been so nervous about it that I've hesitated a lot, checking and re-checking my math.

I've been looking for a reliable book of sweater patterns, something I can use for years, with lots of designs and instructions for customizing. In the bookstore yesterday I found Custom Knits, which I fell in love with immediately. It's mostly top-down patterns, which is nice. I'm not sure I can say I have a preference, having made only 1 top-down and half of 1 seamed sweater, but I did like the top-down one. Since I'm a cheapskate, I ordered this online to save $10, so I won't be able to give it a thorough read for a little while. That's probably best, though, as I don't need to get too distracted from my current projects!

Anyway, I won't get a chance to start a new sweater for myself until late summer anyway, because I want to start one for my HB. I'm planning to use Cascade Eco Wool and a top-down pullover pattern.  Actually, my man and I plan to make this a joint project; I will set up the shaping and the fiddly bits, and he will do a lot of the plain knitting.  He's made 2 hats so far, is confident in the knit stitch, can increase and decrease, but for some reason hates purling.  I hope our gauges aren't so different that the sweater looks funny, but if it does, oh well.  It has plenty of ease and I think men's handknits can be lumpy and still attractive.

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